Sunday, October 31, 2010


Ugh. Today I feel all out of whack.

If I list it out (went for a 2 km run, had a bath, trimmed my nails, finished editing the first round of poetry submissions for the magazine, dropped off said submissions for the next girl, walked outside in the last dregs of glorious weather, ate fruit, and chickpeas and yogurt), I did well, yet my body is tired, bloated, sending confused satiety cues; my mind bucks and balks as I try to write a mere 700 words for tomorrow's English 207 class; my mood is volatile, and I feel I am just scraping by.

Yet I have something. I know what I have to do tomorrow, and it's a simple list:

- eat steel cut oats with a pear
- make the bed
- run again
- drink 2 litres of water
- go for another walk
- make time for my journal
- bike to school
- watch James Bond
- clean the house
- take notice

(a pair of earrings)

Even on days when it doesn't feel like it, this is what works, and what will work again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

an update

I didn't meet any of my goals for this week. Not any. However, I maintained my weight, exercised for approximately 3 hours and forty minutes, babied my leg, went to a tanning salon, and so survived what I thought was going to be a relapse into the depression of last winter. (It wasn't.) I made tea (with ginger root and lemongrass),

cranberry sauce, and pumpkin bread. I bundled up and rode my bike through the first snow. I practiced push-ups and leftwards hooping. I bought exotic salad material.

This week, I'd like to make good on my goals from last week. I don't know how running will go, since I tried to go out tonight, and felt pain in my hamstring right away, but the others are all achievable.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Now, I'm just trying to be helpful

to all of you rich benefactors who live to shower me with expensive gifts (I mean you, Ros). Yes, it is with you in mind that I present:

A Comprehensive Christmas Wish List, Complete With Easy-to-use Links

- Oscillate shirt by Thimble and Acorn, in this, this, or this colour combination
- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
- wool socks
- a sea urchin
- leg warmers. like these or these or these
- a herringbone book
- boggle
- an elfin shirt
- some algal bloom or some undergrowth
- a crazy carpet
- chocolate
- house boots boots?
- a necklace
- a lady
- some paper
- a melancholy bear
- bicycles
- coziness and gorgeousity
- for cream
- little moons
- some of the Dove's work

Spread the word.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

heads up

The lovely Candace is hosting an ace giveaway in honor of her blog birthday. Hurry over and tell her about your favorite books and booze.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Up here, too far North, it's getting darker. The late afternoon light disappears by five o'clock. I can't take it. Just like last year, this third week of October has undone me. A threat looms behind my eyes. Lethargy drags at my feet. The air is dry, the city full of crime. My friends despise me. If I breathe deep, I start to cry.

Because I am a plant, Tim is ordering grow lights. He is determined to keep me sane.
He is a good man. I am determined that Winter will not be lost on me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This morning

I cried all night, over this news story. This morning it's starting to storm. My eyes are swollen. The Edmonton branch of the Delta Kappa Epsilon has its headquarters two blocks from the end of my usual running route, and its members are under threat of expulsion this week for abuse of initiates. I have been suddenly reminded of everything I make it a point to ignore, to live in spite of.

Friday, October 22, 2010

an update

This week I just tried to get back on track, after a week-long lapse due to stress and a mountain of homework. I tried to do several things:

- exercise every day while avoiding re-injury to my leg
- rein in my habit of eating in the evenings
- drink enough water
- pay attention to my hunger, craving, and satiety cues

Something worked. I've had the most rewarding and exciting week since I began this plan in August. This week:

- I broke my hula hooping record, hooping for five minutes straight
- I started practicing hooping to the left, which, it turns out, does not come automatically with the mastery of rightwards hooping
- I broke my push-ups record, doing 10 real push-ups in a row (which means I need to set a new push-ups goal)
- I had fun biking to school
- I went out to eat, and, for the first time in my life, did not feel sick and overstuffed afterwards. I ate only what I was hungry for, and didn't even want more.
- I adjusted my weight goal, from 130 pounds to 135, after looking up a BMI chart and realizing that weighing 130 pounds would put me at an unhealthy weight for my height. This decision is a significant sign that, for the first time in my life, I do not want to be underweight. I want to be strong. Healthy. Beautiful. More things than simply "thin".
- I ate piles of delicious, delicious mushrooms
- I lost 3 pounds
- I experienced the startling sensation of a pair of grey cotton leggings making their way off my waist and towards my ankles. I seem to have outshrunk my first item of clothing.

Here are my current stats, with my stats from August 23 in brackets:

Weight: 154 pounds (164 pounds)
Jeans size: ? - I'm still wearing my 10s, but they are loose (10)
Time I'm able to run in place: 6 minutes (4 minutes)
Number of push-ups I can do in a row: 10 (3)
Average bike trip: 10 km (8 km)
Activity over the past week: 5 hours (3 hours)
Time I can hoop: 5 minutes (30 seconds)
Distance I can run without stopping: 0.6 km (0.2 km)
Longest run/walk: 5 km (1.5 km)
Average run/walk: 2.5 km (1.5 km)

As for goals, this week I'd like to:
- continue to avoid eating after 7 pm
- run 0.75 km in one stretch
- practice leftwards hooping
- lose one pound
- assess my jump rope skills, and start including jumping rope in my stats
- take my vitamins every day

Before Christmas I'd like to:
- do 15 push-ups in a row
- run 1 km at a stretch
- go swimming with Laura
- have people over for dinner
- weigh 150 pounds

P.S. Thanks for putting up with the minutiae of this process. I promise to try and post some provocative photo soon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To Do

- fold up, stitch, and package an Etsy order (someone lovely in Japan claimed a copy of the how-to book!) CHECK
- stretch CHECK
- compose letters to Glynis, Robyn, and Emily CHECK
- run CHECK
- go to the post office CHECK
- drink a couple litres of water CHECK
- clean the bathroom CHECK
- put some laundry in CHECK
- finish The Hobbit CHECK
- read Lacan on Poe's The Purloined Letter
- make pizza CHECK
- write
- read whatever is supposed to be read for English two-oh!-seven CHECK
- download The Wind That Shakes the Barley CHECK
- clean the floors CHECK
- make some tea CHECK

Friday, October 15, 2010

a parcel

For the many small packages
and the stamped labels for everything,
for the lovely smell of soap
even before I opened the envelope,
for cloth which looks as though
you've just finished doodling on it,
for the address, which read Mrs. Elizabth Derksen,
for the funny, tiny books,
for the chalk with which
I will make sketched and hairsprayed pictures
to hang over my desk,
and birthday greetings on the sidewalk,
for celebrating our marriage,
as illegal as it is,
for the evidence of
your talent, skill, and joyful spirit -
thank you, my friend,
from the bottom of my heart.
I cried a bit when I opened it.

an update

The last week and a half have been terrible. I am not giving up. Tomorrow is another day. This week starts then. I want to exercise every day, refrain from eating after seven o'clock, and do as many push-ups and as much running as possible.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Last Letter" - Ted Hughes

What happened that night? Your final night.
Double, treble exposure
Over everything. Late afternoon, Friday,
My last sight of you alive.
Burning your letter to me, in the ashtray,
With that strange smile. Had I bungled your plan?
Had it surprised me sooner than you purposed?
Had I rushed it back to you too promptly?
One hour later—-you would have been gone
Where I could not have traced you.
I would have turned from your locked red door
That nobody would open
Still holding your letter,
A thunderbolt that could not earth itself.
That would have been electric shock treatment
For me.
Repeated over and over, all weekend,
As often as I read it, or thought of it.
That would have remade my brains, and my life.
The treatment that you planned needed some time.
I cannot imagine
How I would have got through that weekend.
I cannot imagine. Had you plotted it all?

Your note reached me too soon—-that same day,
Friday afternoon, posted in the morning.
The prevalent devils expedited it.
That was one more straw of ill-luck
Drawn against you by the Post-Office
And added to your load. I moved fast,
Through the snow-blue, February, London twilight.
Wept with relief when you opened the door.
A huddle of riddles in solution. Precocious tears
That failed to interpret to me, failed to divulge
Their real import. But what did you say
Over the smoking shards of that letter
So carefully annihilated, so calmly,
That let me release you, and leave you
To blow its ashes off your plan—-off the ashtray
Against which you would lean for me to read
The Doctor’s phone-number.
My escape
Had become such a hunted thing
Sleepless, hopeless, all its dreams exhausted,
Only wanting to be recaptured, only
Wanting to drop, out of its vacuum.
Two days of dangling nothing. Two days gratis.
Two days in no calendar, but stolen
From no world,
Beyond actuality, feeling, or name.

My love-life grabbed it. My numbed love-life
With its two mad needles,
Embroidering their rose, piercing and tugging
At their tapestry, their bloody tattoo
Somewhere behind my navel,
Treading that morass of emblazon,
Two mad needles, criss-crossing their stitches,
Selecting among my nerves
For their colours, refashioning me
Inside my own skin, each refashioning the other
With their self-caricatures,

Their obsessed in and out. Two women
Each with her needle.

That night
My dellarobbia Susan. I moved
With the circumspection
Of a flame in a fuse. My whole fury
Was an abandoned effort to blow up
The old globe where shadows bent over
My telltale track of ashes. I raced
From and from, face backwards, a film reversed,
Towards what? We went to Rugby St
Where you and I began.
Why did we go there? Of all places
Why did we go there? Perversity
In the artistry of our fate
Adjusted its refinements for you, for me
And for Susan. Solitaire
Played by the Minotaur of that maze
Even included Helen, in the ground-floor flat.
You had noted her—-a girl for a story.
You never met her. Few ever met her,
Except across the ears and raving mask
Of her Alsatian. You had not even glimpsed her.
You had only recoiled
When her demented animal crashed its weight
Against her door, as we slipped through the hallway;
And heard it choking on infinite German hatred.

That Sunday night she eased her door open
Its few permitted inches.
Susan greeted the black eyes, the unhappy
Overweight, lovely face, that peeped out
Across the little chain. The door closed.
We heard her consoling her jailor
Inside her cell, its kennel, where, days later,
She gassed her ferocious kupo, and herself.

Susan and I spent that night
In our wedding bed. I had not seen it
Since we lay there on our wedding day.
I did not take her back to my own bed.
It had occurred to me, your weekend over,
You might appear—-a surprise visitation.
Did you appear, to tap at my dark window?
So I stayed with Susan, hiding from you,
In our own wedding bed—-the same from which
Within three years she would be taken to die
In that same hospital where, within twelve hours,
I would find you dead.
Monday morning
I drove her to work, in the City,
Then parked my van North of Euston Road
And returned to where my telephone waited.

What happened that night, inside your hours,
Is as unknown as if it never happened.
What accumulation of your whole life,
Like effort unconscious, like birth
Pushing through the membrane of each slow second
Into the next, happened
Only as if it could not happen,
As if it was not happening. How often
Did the phone ring there in my empty room,
You hearing the ring in your receiver—-
At both ends the fading memory
Of a telephone ringing, in a brain
As if already dead. I count
How often you walked to the phone-booth
At the bottom of St George’s terrace.
You are there whenever I look, just turning
Out of Fitzroy Road, crossing over
Between the heaped up banks of dirty sugar.
In your long black coat,
With your plait coiled up at the back of your hair
You walk unable to move, or wake, and are
Already nobody walking
Walking by the railings under Primrose Hill
Towards the phone booth that can never be reached.
Before midnight. After midnight. Again.
Again. Again. And, near dawn, again.

At what position of the hands on my watch-face
Did your last attempt,
Already deeply past
My being able to hear it, shake the pillow
Of that empty bed? A last time
Lightly touch at my books, and my papers?
By the time I got there my phone was asleep.
The pillow innocent. My room slept,
Already filled with the snowlit morning light.
I lit my fire. I had got out my papers.
And I had started to write when the telephone
Jerked awake, in a jabbering alarm,
Remembering everything. It recovered in my hand.
Then a voice like a selected weapon
Or a measured injection,
Coolly delivered its four words
Deep into my ear: ‘Your wife is dead.’

This poem was only just discovered, and published for the first time last week. This is a link to the news broadcast.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And the winner is . . .


However, to everyone else that entered: I was so thrilled to see your comments that I want to send each one of you some other small surprise. I know, I am terrible at giveaways. I want to go overboard. Please email your snail mail addresses to (Laura and Glynis, I have your addresses. Emily, I don't think I have your new one.)


In May, Laura gave us a pepper plant for our wedding...

an update

The goals last week were to lose a pound, and to run five times.

I lost a pound.

And I ran five times. I covered, over the course of the longest run, 5 km, 3 of which I actually ran. On the way home, as I turned into our street, instead of collapsing in a heap of palpitations and nausea, I started to sprint.

It is strange to watch my shadow flowing beside me in the grass. I can move so fast? I feel like an animal. I am the mortal envy of my lumpish younger self, who didn't eat because she was convinced that she would not be able to do anything worth fueling for.

Tim rode beside me, measuring our pace with his bike computer. He said, "You're much faster. More than that, you're fast."

(Also this week, I bought a pair of school sweatpants. For running. In size small. This is double-time dream fulfillment, since when I was little, the coolest girls were the skinny ones who went around with the names of their universities on their bums.)

I am terribly disappointed that I won't be able to run this week. I pulled a tendon connected to one of my hamstrings last night, and need to let it heal. (Ha! A runner's injury!) Instead, I'd like to ride my bike four times, jump rope three times, stretch daily, and journal my food intake/hours of exercise again after a bit of a lapse.

As for longer-term goals, I need some new ones. By Christmas,
I would like to weigh 150 pounds.
I would like to have gone swimming with Laura.
I would like to have had people over for supper.
I would like to be able to do 10 push-ups in a row.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

give away, away, away

I miss my trips to the post office. I'm sure one of you people out there could use some mail. I am just itching to give this little number away.

Comments will be open until Wednesday at 12 am. Tell me why you want it (if you want it), and which poet it will reside beside on your bedside table.

EDIT: This isn't a first-come, first-served deal! (Although I will delighted to send the poems to Sunny if she wins.) Comment! Be clever!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

the second of October, on a Saturday

I am overwhelmed -

with a reading list 600 pages long
with two essays and a project coming up due
and the essays not started
with the heavy feeling in my stomach
not knowing whether I'm hungry or full
with my neglected notebook
with my neglected river valley on this glorious day
with Kant and Freud and how desperately wrong
they can be,
with my dirty hair
with a pile of laundry
and the mountain of recycling
with the dying garden
with its last spurt of life
with ripped fingernails

- and I do not know where to start,
what to fight,
what to acknowledge and nod to